Edmonds Restaurant News: New owners at Ganache, shrub tasting — and Chanterelle is OPEN

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Manager Bob Braun is busy transforming Ganache Patisserie into 407 Coffee House.

Ganache to become 407 Coffee House

Big changes are happening at 407 Main St. in downtown Edmonds. New owners Oleg and Sergey Chaban, along with manager Bob Braun, are in the process of creating an entirely new concept for the space formally occupied by Ganache Patisserie.

“We’ll be completely rebranding,” said Braun. “Imagine a place where you can get a fresh cup of coffee and a nice sandwich, a relaxing space where you can unplug for a while. We’re going to encourage people to put their phones down for 20 minutes.”

“We have a commitment to excellence and will be using local resources as much as possible. We are into giving the customer the ultimate experience while in our shop. It is designed to be a technology-free zone so customers can break away from the hustle and bustle of daily city life,” Braun added.

When we spoke Saturday, they’d just arranged to bring in the Olympia Coffee Roasting Company as their coffee purveyor. Braun was especially impressed with their award-winning Big Truck blend, which is said to have a great flavor and finish with some nice fruity notes.

I like what I’ve heard about Olympia — excellent coffee with direct relationships to coffee growers that allows for fair trade. Good choice right off the bat.

They’re working with Seattle wholesaler White Knuckle for breakfast burritos and sandwiches, panini, and other yummy items. But what really made my ears perk up and mouth start watering was that potentially, Noah’s Bagels will be a supplier. Real bagels a half a block from my bookshop? Be still my heart.

Sadly, because of his recent health issues, Nick Kulakevich’s excellent pastries will no longer be available. But the new team has indicated that Salmonberry and Bimbo Bakeries may also be tapped as suppliers for 407. 

Stay tuned for grand opening information. I think we’re about to have another great little indie coffee shop in town.

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Epulo bar manager Dave Dyke preparing to muddle a shrub.

Ever drink a shrub?

We were out for dinner the other night at one of our favorite restaurants. I was looking for another nonalcoholic alternative. I’ve been getting a little bored with ginger beer and kombucha. Our server at Epulo Bistro suggested I try a shrub. 

A shrub?

I couldn’t help being reminded of Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) whose question is indelibly etched into the consciousness of anyone over the age of about 50: “Ever eat a pine tree? Most parts are edible.“ 

It’s regrettable that this outdoorsman and author of several excellent books on foraging should be remembered for such a banal advertising campaign. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he made more money as a breakfast cereal spokesperson than on all of his books combined. 

But in this case, you don’t eat a shrub, you drink it. Believed to be derived from the Arabic sharab (to drink), it became popular in Colonial times. It then faded away (perhaps enhanced preserving techniques and later refrigeration played a role) only to be resurrected about 12 years ago when some clever bartender on the East Coast revived it. It’s been gaining popularity ever since.

The unique thing about a shrub is its use of a reduction of fruit juice and vinegar.
Back in the day, fruit that wouldn’t keep would be macerated, tossed in with vinegar,  reduced by evaporation or heat, then strained. What remained was a preserved syrup (also know as drinking vinegar) that could be stored for long periods.
Some health advocates recommend drinking vinegar for a variety of health benefits, if you accept this notion, making your daily dram of vinegar taste great can’t hurt.

Epulo has been making shrubs for more than two years. 

Dave Dyck is the bar manager at Epulo. “Tim Morris (an owner) and I had been discussing the idea of introducing shrubs.” He found a bottle for sale by one of the vendors at the farmers market here in Edmonds. ”He brought it back, it was a hit, so we started making our own,” Dyck said. 

Dyck just reached a professional milestone in August — 30 years in the food service industry. “I’ve worked everywhere from Burger King to the Seattle Country Club. But Epulo is by far the best. The staff is great and our guests are amazing. Everything the kitchen puts out is the highest quality, and it’s all made from scratch,” Dyck said.

Some health advocates recommend drinking vinegar for a variety of health benefits. If you accept this notion, making your daily dram of vinegar taste great can’t hurt. 

The finished product: a raspberry hibiscus shrub.

Dyck is a master at whipping up shrubs. He’s used blackberry, grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry, hibiscus, rhubarb, and even pumpkin and beet in his shrubs. If you walked in today, blood orange would be the flavor, but it changes as each batch is used up. 

Dyck also recently won the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce’s People’s Choice award at this year‘s Networking With Spirits contest for his drink “The Hollows” — thusly named for the contest’s proximity to Halloween. 

It’s an elaborate concoction of unfiltered apple juice, white rum, caramel liquor, fresh lemon, orange, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. It sounds amazing.

The shrub that impressed me used a raspberry hibiscus syrup with a blend of apple cider and white balsamic vinegar. It’s mixed with club soda, fresh lime, muddled mint and topped with a sprig of fresh mint. It had a crisp, fresh taste, the vinegar added a little punch, but in no way overpowered the drink. It’s astonishingly good. Dyck also makes an alcoholic version from time to time that follows along the lines of a hybrid Manhattan. 

Drop by and try one of this master of mixology’s creations. Even if you’ve never eaten a pine tree, you’ll be able to say that you drank a shrub.

~ ~ ~ ~

New owner, but Chanterelle is NOT closing

After 16 years as a server and more recently a supervisor, Diana Scheel of Chanterelle has assumed the role of general manager. One of her first tasks is to correct what is apparently a common misperception. “You would not believe the number of people that come in every day and ask ‘when are you closing?’” Scheel said.

Apparently, Randy and Brooke Baker’s departure has created some confusion. It would be pretty funny if it wasn’t potentially injurious to business.

Just to clarify, Chanterelle is not closing, has not changed its menu, and has retained its entire staff.

“We’re the same friendly faces that have always been here, many of us for 15 or 20 years,” said Scheel.

From left: Chanterelle employees Diana Scheel (general manager, 16 years), Janet Contreras (15 years) and Marlaine Berentson (20 years)

Who knows how this rumor got started, but rest assured the great food and service you’ve come to expect at Chanterelle are still there and they have no plans to change anything. 

“We’re incredibly lucky. The new owner Hoa (pronounced Wah) Tran has retained everyone and is happy with the menu as it is,” Scheel said.

So relax: Your favorite tomato bisque, cioppino, and linguini with clams are still being served up by the same familiar staff.  

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Food drive success for FeedMe Hospitality

The good folks at FeedMe Hospitality and Restaurant Group (Salt & Iron, Bar Dojo, The Mar•ket and, Shooby Doo Catering) recently completed their food drive to benefit the hungry and homeless children of Edmonds School District. They collected canned food in November for the Nourishing Network/Edmonds School Foundation, gathering nearly 1,000 canned goods, grocery items and beverages (915 to be exact). FeedMe plans to add 1,000 more items — for a total of close to 2,000 total items of donated food to support the effort.

What a great cause! Thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks to FeedMe for putting this drive together and for their generous matching gift.

~ ~ ~ ~

Santa Brunch at 190 Sunset

Have you been good this year? Santa reportedly keeps some kind of list. It’s not clear how, but he knows if you’ve been naughty, he knows if you’ve been nice. This Sunday at 190 Sunset, join them for Santa Brunch and receive a free picture with Mr. Claus. 

For goodness sake, even if you’re not sure if you’re on the lump of coal list, at least you’ll have a cool photo with Santa. The Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and a Bloody Mary might be just thing to get you in the holiday spirit.

Photos with Santa are available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations are strongly encouraged at themarket190sunset.com.

James Spangler— By James Spangler
The furthest thing from a finicky eater, James Spangler insisted on trying everything on the table from the earliest age. At 13, he prepared Baked Alaska for an entire classroom and has had an insatiable appetite for good food ever since. On his days off, he’s rather be in the kitchen cooking for the people he loves than doing just about anything. If you catch him reading a book at his bookstore on 4th Avenue in Edmonds, there’s a good chance it’ll  have something to do with food.

 

3 Replies to “Edmonds Restaurant News: New owners at Ganache, shrub tasting — and Chanterelle is OPEN”

  1. I must try a shrub! But meanwhile, I was wracking my brain to find a line remembered from Shakespeare about shrub, only to find that I meant “bush” – something added to wine to make it taste better, or at least different; from As You Like It:

    It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but
    it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it
    be true that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true that a good play
    needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and
    good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues.

    Ignored

  2. Been making and drinking shrubs for 5 years! They are fabulous. Got hooked n the way of introduction from a vendor at the Summer Market.

    Ignored

  3. How people started the rumor about Chanterelle closing is beyond me? Every article I’ve read made it crystal clear that the Bakers were retiring, new owner was taking over and has no intention of changing the menu, and that the staff weren’t going anywhere. So, enjoy a cup/bowl of tomato bisque at lunch or dinner or a waffle for breakfast.

    Ignored

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